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Animal Sculpture

Animal sculpture is a sculptural style in its own right. This specific genre deserves the same recognition as nude, marble, bronze and resin sculpture.

The representation of animals and the animal body has long been a source of inspiration for sculptural creations and yet it was once considered a minor genre in Western European decorative arts. Ironically, animal sculpture was of the utmost importance to Ancient civilisations. Countless ancient Egyptian buildings for example were adorned with grandiose representations of felines and Sphinxes. More generally within the visual arts, animals were rarely represented in their own right, and were often depicted accompanying or symbolising mythological figures or even character traits.

Aside from its mythical representations, animal sculptures were also popular with suzerain states who used monumental bronze sculptures of lions or eagles to symbolise the immensity of their power.

However it wasn't until 1831 that the sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye finally established animal sculpture as a noble art, thanks to his work Tiger devouring a Gavial Crocodile at the Salon de Paris. It was no longer fashionable to depict animals as unreal, mythological creatures in the decorative arts and instead naturalism and realistic representations of animals characterised the sculpture of the period.

Ideas about nature's wealth and abundance meant that all creatures deserved to be carefully and meticulously recreated in the closest likeness possible. Mythical animal interpretations were left behind and artists concentrated on capturing the finer details of an animal's fur, muscles or mouth.

A new wave of renowned sculptors emerged. Pierre-Jules Mêne, Antoine Aigon and Jean Germain Demay are just a few examples of some of these pioneering artists. Particularly interested in 'exotic' species (snakes, gazelles, elephants, giraffes, hippopotamuses…), they all explored representing the natural world in a variety of different ways.

In the 20th century, realist tendencies gradually faded away and a new group of creative minds began to experiment with animal sculpture as part of the shift towards modern sculpture.

Numerous artists tried their hand at animal sculpture whilst applying new aesthetic criteria which was largely influenced by modern and contemporary art movements: Abstract art, Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism. Guided by key surrealist influences, which could not have been further removed from the traditional styles of the past century, a new bestiary was created. Pablo Picasso and Alberto Giacometti were among the key figures who helped to reinvent the way artists endeavoured to sculpt animals.

In contemporary animal sculpture, radically redefining artistic techniques and the way we represent living beings has taken precedence over realistic proportion sizes and lifelike features. Artists no longer refrain from accentuating a particular body part, removing a limb for example or creating an entirely new hybrid beast. However, many artists are also skilled at creating hyper realistic animals that seem so real they almost appear to be alive.

To help you get an idea of the latest animal sculptures, take a look at Artsper's collection of sculpted animals, selected from some of the best contemporary art galleries and made by artists including Jacques Dufrane, Raymundo Fabian Melchor and Roxana y Jesus Hernandez.

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recommandations|icon-recommendations*recommandations facet,8259*Nuestras recomendaciones|icon-recommendations*nuestras-recomendaciones price,5001:10000 facet,10497*Werke berühmter Künstler|icon-masterpieces*werke-beruhmter-kunstler facet,10497*Artworks by famous artists|icon-masterpieces*masterpieces facet,10497*Oeuvres d'artistes célèbres|icon-masterpieces*artistes-celebres facet,10497*Obras de artistas famosos|icon-masterpieces*obras-de-artistas-famosos facet,1629*Abstract*abstract facet,1629*Abstraite*abstraite facet,1629*abstracto*abstracto facet,1629*abstrakt*abstrakt facet,11991*​Master Artists|icon-masterartists*masterartists facet,11991*Maestros artistas|icon-masterartists*maestros-artistas facet,11991*Große Meister|icon-masterartists*grosse-meister facet,11991*Grands Maitres|icon-masterartists*grands-maitres facet,8274*Moyen (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*moyen facet,1635*Street art*street-art facet,1635*Straßenkunst*street-art facet,1635*arte callejero*arte-callejero facet,11997*​New \u0026 remarkable Artists|icon-new-remarquable-artists*new-remarquable-artists facet,11997*Nouveaux artistes à découvrir|icon-new-remarquable-artists*nouveaux-artistes-a-decouvrir facet,11997*Neue bemerkenswerte Künstler|icon-new-remarquable-artists*neue-bemerkenswerte-kunstler facet,11997*Artistas nuevos y destacados|icon-new-remarquable-artists*artistas-nuevos-y-destacados facet,8277*Grand (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*grand category,5*Skulpturen*skulptur category,5*Escultura*escultura category,5*Sculpture*sculpture facet,1686*Pop Art*pop-art facet,1686*Arte pop*arte-pop facet,1686*Pop-Art*pop-art category,9*Photography*photography category,9*Photographie*photographie category,9*Fotografien*fotografie category,9*Fotografía*fotografia facet,8277*Large (\u003c 80 x 80 inch)|large*large facet,8277*Large (\u003c 200 x 200 cm)|large*large facet,1644*Portrait*portrait facet,1644*Porträt*portrat facet,1644*Retrato*retrato facet,8301*Oeuvres en promotion|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special offers|icon-promotions*promotions facet,8301*Special Offers|icon-promotions*vergunstigte-werke facet,8301*Trabajos en promoción|icon-promotions*trabajos-en-promocion facet,1671*Paysage*nature facet,1671*Natur*natur facet,1671*Landscape*nature facet,1671*Naturaleza*naturaleza category,15*Drucke*editionen category,15*Edition*edition category,15*Print*print category,15*Edición*edicion category,23*Fine Art Drawings*drawing category,23*Zeichnungen*zeichnung category,23*Dessin*dessin category,23*Dibujo*dibujo facet,11697*Figurativ*figurativ facet,11697*Figurative*figurative facet,11697*Figuratif*figuratif facet,11697*Figurativo*figurativo facet,1641*Nus*nus facet,1641*Nude*nude facet,1641*Akt*akte facet,1641*desnudos*desnudos facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 45 x 45 inch)|medium*medium facet,8274*Medium (\u003c 115 x 115 cm)|medium*medium facet,1830*Landscape|landscape*orientation-landscape facet,1830*Paysage|landscape*orientation-paysage facet,1830*Landschaft|landscape*orientation-landschaft facet,1830*Paisaje|landscape*orientation-paisaje facet,8280*Très grand (\u003e 200 x 200 cm)|very-large*tres-grand facet,1674*Escena de la vida*escena-de-la-vida facet,1674*Everyday life*everyday-life facet,1674*Alltagsszenen*alltagsszenen facet,1674*Scène de vie*scene-de-vie facet,1827*Portrait|portrait*orientation-portrait facet,1827*Hochformat|portrait*orientation-portrat facet,1827*Retrato|portrait*orientation-retrato facet,1680*Animaux*animaux facet,1680*Animal*animal facet,1680*Tiere*tiere facet,1680*Animales*animales price,50001 facet,8271*Petit (\u003c 50 x 50 cm)|small*petit price,1000:501 facet,1668*Black and white*black-and-white facet,1668*Noir et blanc*noir-et-blanc facet,1668*Schwarz und weiß*schwarz-und-weiss facet,1659*Flore*flore facet,1659*Flora*flora facet,1659*Floral*floral facet,1659*Flores*flores facet,11634*Pop Culture Street Artists*pop-culture-street-artists facet,11634*Pop culture 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